So much for gaining new wisdom on this Camino! I’ve already forgotten lessons from my first, lessons like ‘don’t climb mountains in the mid day sun with half a bottle of water’! I’ve never been more relieved to see the slated roofs of Foncebadon than I was today. I strode into town (yes, strode, can’t let these people i’ll never meet again think I’m anything less than perfection) with a mouth full of water to spare in 30 degree heat.
Heat alone, isn’t a problem, distance alone, isn’t a problem, but distance + mountain + heat is a real problem! Thankfully I’m not so stubborn as to strive on without finding a bit of shade and taking some moments to recover but this has put my back up plan, to climb O Cebreiro in one from Villfranca if I can’t gain kms in the next few days hiking into perspective. Basically – ‘no way Pedro!’
The Villafranca>O Cebreiro section has you walking to the base of the mountain (20k) and then climbing it and overnighting in O Cebreiro which means completing the 2nd highest climb of the Camino between 11-2pm. Better to arrive safe and sound a day later than get choppered off the mountain with heat stroke! I’m neither 20 nor fit – but I am cute and funny and prefer to remain that way for a few more years at least.
Last night I slept like a baby in the albergue in Murias, I’m sure people were snoring, talking and sleep walking but I was far too exhausted to notice and enjoyed 11 hours sleep. At 6am I got up, dressed and was the first out of the albergue to face the day. The walk to Santa Catalina and then El Ganso passed very quickly and by 9.00am the first half of today’s walk was over. This morning was also quite cool as you can see from the photos above.
The second half however took me 3 and a half hours – all uphill, all very hot and with numerous broken water fountains! Between Rabanal and Foncebadon alone there are 3 water features which feature no safe running water at all but just standing tubs of stagnant water with algae floating on top! Despite the h2O situation I managed to get into Foncebadon at 12.30 and grabbed the first bed in the albergue – bottom bunk, nearest the door!
This albergue, the La Posada del Druida has the best shower I’ve ever had on the Camino with acres of space to hang your stuff. Showers can be difficult on camino if you’re not a fan of getting naked in public. The shower cubicles tend to be really small and it’s difficult to have your new clothes available to put on before you expose yourself in the shared bathroom. The only choice is to throw all your clothes over the door frame and hope a) no one steals them (unlikely) or b) you have balanced them well enough so they don’t fall back into the shower (likely) and get drenched OR, worse, fall the other way – out of reach – forcing you yet again to expose yourself. I am very concerned about exposing myself as you can tell!
The worst thing about this albergue is the washing machines. They appear to have very little in the way of a spin cycle which makes for extremely soppy clothes. It’s so hot that I can’t imagine my clothes won’t dry. There’s really no need to mention this except to balance out the praise!
There’s nothing in Foncebadon – nothing at all. There’s a church up the top of the village but it looks ruined from here. I guess in the 6 hours until bed time, with no other activity planned, I should probably mosey up there and check it out. A few hours of duolingo looks likely.
What else? Hmmmm. I bought some Camino jewellery for the girlfriend, other than this I have no news! A guy next to me is threading his blisters on the bed. Eww.
Amendment: Ok, I went out, the church is now part of the parochial albergue and nothing more, can’t find a Jesus or a Mary.
Tonights dinner looks to be one of those pilgrim menu extraordinaires. Roast chicken and potatoes, how can you go wrong? Tomorrow, all things working in my favour I’ll arrive at Ponferrada – my favourite city on the Camino – Yay!